by Shanker Nath Fotedar

Chapter XIII

It is not proper to mention the miracles performed by great saints as, first, they shun publicity and, secondly, they are not to be judged by their miracles. Some of them, in fact, are averse to the demonstrations of this sort, as they do not want to interfere with Naure's ways. Saints generally shun the ashtasidhis (the eight supernatural powers), regarding them as detrimental to spiritual advancement. But, when a saint has attained Shivahood, what has he to lose or gain by performing miracles to help somebody? A few streams flowing out of the ocean, do not affect it. This was true of Bhagawaan Ji. He was a Karma Yogi who found the modern generation engrossed in materialism, with faith in God and godly ways shaken and crumbling. He had great compassion for the suffering humanity and would go out of his way to help them. By his very nature, he could not remain indifferent when the country was in trouble. He put in a great spiritual effort from 1947 onwards, unmindful of the physical hardships he had to endureee e in the process, to bring order out of chaos. Forgetting to eat and drink, and with a foaming mouth and blood-shot eyes, he would go on puffing at his chillumn and offering oblations into his dhooni. He did not deliver spiritual discourses, but induced spirituality by a touch, a look or by offering bhasma, prashaad or his chillum to the suitable aspirants. He seemed to us to be too preoccupied to have any spare time. It seemed as if he was to appear in some difficult examination and was preparing for it. The struggle in his mind was not an open chapter. The miracles reported here have their own instructive value and depict the various aspects of his personality. This is the reason why, I think, they should form part of his biography. Neither I nor any-one else could understand in which direction he was actually working, but major catastrophes were averted in those disturbed times because of his great penance, as is acknowledged by some other people also from Kashmir, which appeared to be the visible sphere of his activity.

In the first instance, some incidents affecting the country will be reported

In the year 1947, raiders from Pakistan attacked Kashmir, committing murder, rape and arson, wherever they went. They reached even the outskirts of the Srinagar city and some people approached Bhagawaan Ji for help. He assured them that the raiders would not enter the city but would be halted beyond the seventh and last bridge over the Jhelum in the city. The raiders were actually halted much below the Chhattabal Octroi Post by the Indian Army.

Two months before the raid, he had told a devotee posted at Baramulla that he should get to Srinagar everything from Baramulla, even a blade of grass, as he had purchased those articles with his honest earnings. By Bhagawaan Ji's grace, the devotee was transferred to Srinagar before the raid.

Bhagawaan Ji once went to the Shri Shaarika Bhagawati Shrine at Haari Parvat. That was some time after the raid and a Chandi yoajna was in progress there then. As soon as those present saw him, they flocked round him and requested him to save Kashmir. He replied, 'There is no danger, as I am always present on the battle fronts,' In one of his soliloquies, Bhagawaan Ji was heard saying, 'What is the army doing? They get so much rations and yet do not open a direct route to Kashmir for the Laddakhi Lamas.' We failed to comprehend what this meant. In the month of November, 1948, however, the Indian Army conquered the Zojila pass and Kargil, and a direct link was re-established with Ladakh.

The part played by Bhagawaan Ji in this campaign was revealed by an officer of the Military Policy who was connected with this operation. He had been informed by the Front Commander that a mysterious person directed the operations and gesticulated to the jawans at the battle front to fire in certain directions; this proved correct militarily. This Military Police Officer had been given the identification clues of the mysterious person and very much wished to know whether a person answering the description (who, he guessed, must be a saint) lived in flesh and blood. He gave the identification marks to one, Mr. T.N. Dhar of Rainawari, Srinagar. During this period, Mr. Dhar, among others, had already seen Bhagawaan Ji sitting on a pillow at his residence at Reshi Mohalla (Srinagar) and gesticulating with his hands as if to direct someone invisible to fire in this or that direction.

Mr Dhar told the Military Police Officer that he knew the saint in question and sent a man to escort him to Bhagawaan Ji's place. The officer was a plump, rather short-sized person of a dark complexion and with a pock-marked face. He was a Christian. After seeing Bhagawaan Ji, he said that the saint exactly answered to the description given by the Front Commander, who had also said that the saint had been mainly responsible for their victory.

During this period, Bhagawaan Ji fasted. But one morning he suddenly had a barber called in, had a shave and broke his fast. He was in a relaxed mood and his genial self again. 'The news of the capture of Zojila was announced the same evening.

Late in the autumn of 1956, the people of Kashmir were panic-stricken owing to the uncertainty about the future of Kashmir. A large number of them went to implore Bhagawaan Ji to save Kashmir. In a soliloquy, he remarked that Kashmir would be ruined if the Indian Army left. This accentuated their worry. Though this subject was often mooted, Bhagawaan Ji gave no reply but continued his austerities with redoubled vigour. One fine morning, when I, too, was present, he, on his own, gave the reply, saying that the Army would remain in Kashmir for the good of the country and the people. A month later, on 18th February, 1957, the UN Security Council passed a resolution co-sponsored by the USA, the UK, Australia and Cuba for inducting a UN Force into Kashmir. The resolution was, however, vetoed by the USSR and the picture changed dramatically during these years, he would often say, 'Kashmir is in the throes of consumption (silla). I am sitting on Kashmir and will not allow it to drift away.'

Bhagawaan Ji also, seems to have been connected with the Sino-lndian border war of 1962 in some mysterious way. He was at the Bhadra-Kaali shrine about the month of September, 1962. As has been narrated elsewhere, he was once sitting in an open space with his dhooni on, and sent away all his devotees back to Srlnagar, except his sister and Swaami Amritaananda, telling them 'Don't you see what is happening across the mountains (Tibet side)? A whiff of the wind from that side will blow you over.' This period, too, was for him one of intense spiritual activity for the safety of Kashmir. He returned to Srinagar after about three weeks' stay. The Sino-Indian border war had already started. While in Srinagar, he told his sister one night at about 11 p.m. that he was going out. Noting his determination, she assented and he left the house wrapped in a woollen chaddar and carrying only his chillum He returned after an hour or so, intensely cold. The Next day, he contracted bronchitis and all that. He told a devotee whhh ho had summoned courage enough to enquire where he had gone the previous night, 'To Tibet, to settle matters.' Some days later, the hostilities ceased.

Before the Indo-Pakistan war started in 1965, he would, of his own accord, point towards the South- West (i.e. towards Poonch, Rajouri and Gulmarg) and say that there was Kaala or Death there. The reference, we realised later, was to the Pakistani infiltrators who had sneaked into these areas and indulged in loot, arson and murder. One evening, during the 1965 war, he got up all of a sudden from his usual reclining position, saying that there was danger looming. He took out a sugar candy and put it into his mouth; he also gave a sugar candy to either of the two men sitting before him, and audibly asked himself whether he should save Srinagar or Delhi. Then he suddenly became silent. Only a few minutes later, the Srinagar aerodrome was bombed but the damage was minimal. It was learnt later that a Pakistani plane on a bombing mission to Delhi had been brought down near Meerut.

A few days before the hostilities ceased, he observed, 'The West is clear now.' Now I shall proceed to give the details of some cases where Bhagawaan Ji helped to ease individual distress. The instances cited are authentic.

1. The wife of Shri Chuni Ial, Vice-Principal of a music institute in Srinagar, once suffered from the cancer of blood (Leukaemia). She was under the treatment of an eminent physician specialist. At one stage, on the basis of her blood picture, the doctor gave up all hope of her survival, and left her free to take anything she liked, as her end was near. Dejected and distressed, Shri Chuni Lal went to Bhagawaan Ji, who gave him a small packet of the ashes from his dhooni. With tearful eyes, he said, 'What will these ashes do to my dying wife?' Moved visibly, Bhagawaan Ji said that she should take the ashes with water or medicine. Shri Chuni Lal went home sceptical about the efficacy of the ashes. He, however, told everything to his mother who snatched the tiny packet from his hand and put some ashes on the patient's tongue, smearing her body with the rest. The patient went off to sleep immediately. Waking up after two or three hours, she said that she was feeling hungry. Since the night had advanced, they could get and feed her milk only. The next day also, she felt very hungry though she had been given ample feeding. The doctor advised that the patient be taken to hospital for a fresh blood check-up. The check-up revealed a normal blood picture with no trace of the cancer. The doctor was puzzled and enquired of Shri Chuni Lal what he had done and how she had been cured. Shri Chuni Lal related the story of the ashes. He says that subsequently the doctor also went to pay obeisance to Bhagawaan Ji.

2. A lady in Delhi was declared a case of pyelonephrltis (Tubercular). The tests revealed that the infection in the kidney was galloping and involving healthy tissue . A relative of the lady approached Bhagawaan Ji in Srinagar with the prayer to save her, as her death would mean the ruin of her three young children. Bhagawaan Ji was moved, filled his chillum and smoked it for about half-an-hour and said, 'Go, the lady is saved'. Her husband reported later that the tests had revealed an improvement in the condition of the kidney and that she was recovering. She recovered fully and leads the normal life of a housewife .

3. Once, one of Bhagawaan Ji's devotees was suffering from a heart and a stomach ailment. He went to Bombay and got himself thoroughly checked up by a professor of cardiology. The treatment prescribed did not have any appreciable effect. The patient returned to Kashmir and was one day sitting in front of Bhagawaan Ji who, of his own accord, told him that he had renewed his heart and stomach. The devotee was fully cured. Next winter, he went to Bombay and got himself rechecked by the same cardiologist, who was surprised to find nothing wrong with the heart, and told him that he had expected changes for the worse in his heart during the year. He then enquired whether he had used the medicines prescribed. On being informed that the medicines had not been used, the doctor wanted to know how the marvelous cure had taken place. The patient informed him that it was only divine grace, leaving the doctor all the more amazed.

4. One of Bhagawaan Ji's devotees once broke the head of his femur. The patient's relatives approached Bhagawaan Ji for instructions whether the patient should be removed to hospital. He told them that he should rest in his room and that he (Bhagawaan Ji) would cure him himself. A month after the incident, he asked the patient's relatives to bring him to his place. He was taken there on a stretcher; placed in a chair, he was ushered into the presence of Bhagawaan Ji, who told him to rest for a few days in the ante-room. One day, Bhagawaan Ji went into the ante-room and helped the patient to stand up and move a few steps. He asked him to continue the practice himself with the help of crutches; after a few days, he directed him to go back home. The man is quite well and can walk long distances though with a slight limp.

5. One of Bhagawaan Ji's devotees was once laid up with an attack of what is commonly called 'black motions', and was removed to hospital by his relatives, without his (Bhagawaan Ji's) consent. After a few days, he advised a relative of the patient to get him back from the hospital, saying, 'I shall do the rest'. He also advised that the patient be given cooked rice and gram daal. Surprisingly, the doctor also suggested the same diet.

6. On 26-11-1966, one of Bhagwaan Ji's devotees, Pt. Pran Nath Kaul, who appears to be the man of destiny for carrying on his mission. was sitting before him, as usual, when the latter's brother came in, running and alarmed. He told Pran Nath Ji that his father, whose nose had been bleeding mildly off and on for two days, had started bleeding profusely from the nose and that his condition was fast worsening. Pran Nath Ji was asked to go home immediately along with a doctor by his brother. The devotee was nonplussed and wondered how he could get a doctor, the hour being very late. He talked about it to Bhagawaan Ji. A lady sitting there also prayed to Bhagawaan Ji for the patient's cure. Bhagawaan Ji gave a small quantity of dry tea leaves lying in front of him to Pran Nath Ji and told him that a decoction of it, mixed with sugar, should be given to the patient. Pran Nath Ji continued to stay on at Bhagawaan Ji's place, asking his brother to take the tea leaves home. As soon as a few sips of the tea were takeee en by the patient, the bleeding stopped. The next day he felt normal.

7. In December, 1963, the Holy Relic was found missing from Dargah Sharif, Hazratbal, Srinagar. All the people of Kashmir were terribly upset. There was a great commotion in Srinagar and the rest of the Valley. Normal life got disrupted and the Government appeared to have lost its grip on the situation. There was an apprehension of the situation deteriorating further. Pt Shambhu Nath Bhan, later a member of the Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji Trust, and some others approached Bhagawaan Ji for help. Pran Nath Ji also was present on the occasion and joined the others in praying to Bhagawaan Ji that the Holy Relic must be found as only then would the peoples' anguish be over and normalcy return to Kashmir. After a short pause, Bhagawaan Ji smiled and said, 'There is no worry. The Holy Relic will be found soon.' The very next day, it was announced that the Holy Relic had been found. As Bhagawaan Ji had predicted. Its genuineness was certified by the saint Khwaja Mirakh Shah Sahib of Shalimar and some other competent and reee eliable people.

8. A devotee of Bhagawaan Ji had a long-standing throat trouble, which the doctors suspected to be due to some malignant growth. Bhagawaan Ji asked him to get small brick pieces, heat them in the sun and keep applying them to his throat. After some time, the trouble disappeared.

9.(a) The husband of a pious and rich lady, a devotee of Bhagawaan Ji, fell ill with the cirrhosis of the liver. The lady requested Bhagawaan Ji to cure him. Though the request was made many times, he did not say anything in reply. However, one day he asked the lady to get her husband along with her to his place.

The lady's husband agreed reluctantly but, when he sat in the car to go to Bhagawaan Ji's place, he suddenly came out and did not go. He refused to go there on some subsequent occasions also. He passed away soon after. On the night previous to her husband's death, the lady went to see Bhagawaan Ji. She complained about the patient's lack of appetite. He asked her to give him some tea and also said, in my presence, that the pandits had started the katha which meant that the man's end was near. The katha is narrated for ten days after the death of a Hindu in Kashmir.

(b) This lady was a great devotee of Bhagawaan Ji. She developed asthma and hypertension but continued to live for about fifteen years. One day, he told her, in my presence, that her disease was sleeping on one of his legs; he then pointed to a spot on his own right leg, where, however, we could see nothing abnormal. During the year 1972, about four years after his giving up the gross body, the lady had a vision of him in a dream; he showed her his leg with a big scab on it but put the leg back under his phiran. This meant that he was still looking after her physical well-being, continuing to take the disease upon himself even after giving up his gross body.

Two or three cases have come to our notice when Bhagawaan Ji asked the patients to be brought to him. If they failed to come for this or that reason, they perished; those who came, got cured.

10. Bhagawaan Ji had a strange way of curing heart patients. When the patient would be sitting before him, he would begin feeling his own pulse for a few minutes in both the wrists alternately, and the patient would get cured. He also advised some such patients to have an oil massage after a bath.

11. Shri Shiban Lal Turki, a devotee of Bhagawaan Ji, who appears to have brought a good store of spiritual progress from his previous births and is well on the path of God-realisation, has reported the following experiences with Bhagawaan Ji:-

(a) One day I was pressing Bhagawaan Ji's feet for an hour or so and felt elated for doing that good deed. Thereupon Bhagawaan Ji said, 'You fool, you have gone crazy over pressing my feet which are simply splinters of wood". This opened my eyes and I fell at his feet, begging pardon. Nothing was hidden from Bhagawaan Ji, not even a thought that occurred even for a fraction of a second in another's mind.

(b) I was studying in the B.Sc. classes. One day, I wore a new shirt and pants, adding grace to my personality. My college friends started envying me. This inflated my ego and I thought I could make love to any girl I liked, and there were other low thoughts as well. I went to see Bhagawaan Ji about a week after this incident and he, in his bewitching way, repeated not-only the sentences my friends had used about me but also my filthy thoughts. I started sweating from head to foot. Had I not known that Bhagawaan Ji was benign, I would have fainted. However, I became rooted to the spot, as it were, and could not move. He went on to say, "What does this body contain, except dirt, phlegm urine, filth and the other excreta? Which of the body's outlets gives out any thing attractive? So why this feeling of pride?"

'(c) I went to Agra to try and get an M. Sc. Seat without taking Bhagawaan Ji's permission. The Head of the Department concerned kept dodging me from day to day and I had to stay on in Agra in the grueling heat of summer. As I did not write to her, Mother, getting anxious, approached Bhagawaan ji. As soon as she mentioned me, Bhagawan Ji showed great anger saying, "Poor boy is being sent from pillar to post, and is staying in a building situated on a four-way crossing [an exact description of the place I was living at] but is well and will return soon." I returned home soon afterwards.

'(d) My elder brother's marriage was to be celebrated and it had been raining continuously for two days; there appeared to be no sign of the sky clearing and, if the rain did not stop, the marriage function would be in a mess for lack of adequate space in the house. Mother went to see Bhagawaan Ji. Looking at the sky through a window, he waved a stick in the air as if dividing the clouds. Soon after, the vast expanse of clouds broke into two, and the next morning the sky was quite clear. We could arrange the function in our compound.'

12. Sister Jai Kishori a devotee of Bhagwaan Ji and model of chastity, is likely to be a promoter of Bhagawaan Ji's mission among the womenfolk. She has to say this about Bhagawaan Ji:- 'I went to pay respects to Bhagawaan Ji for the first time in the year 1964. As soon as I was seated before him, he cast an affable glance towards me and smiled. I felt a surge of bliss inside me. I continued to visit him practically every day thereafter.

'In the year 1967, the city was under curfew for many days and I could not go to see him. I felt very sad. An intense longing to pay my obeisance to him developed within me and I was restless. Then something unexpected happened: the curfew was lifted for just an hour and I dashed towards his residence. I found him in an ecstasy. He cast a benign look towards me and smiled. I returned home happy and relaxed.

'In the winter of 1967, I was returning from a pilgrimage to Haridwar; it snowed heavily and the road got blocked near Banihal. The clearance of the road was likely to take many days; I was in deep anguish, and did not know what to do. I could only pray to Bhagawaan Ji for help. After only a short while, the signal was given for our bus to start and we reached home in Srinagar safely. No other bus could come to Srinagar for a number of days on that occasion. The next day, I went to pay obeisance to Bhagawaan Ji. It seemed to me that he was waiting for me to come. After he had finished smoking his chillum, he looked towards me, smiled, pointed towards his own shoulders and said that he had to shoulder the bus for my safe arrival.'

13. Shri Mohan Kishan Ticku, an esteemed member and Organizer, Bhagawaan Gopinath Ji Trust, has reported the following experience with Bhagawaan Ji:-

'I am a businessman and my shop is situated on the road-side on the main Ganpatyaar-Habbakadal Road, Srinagar, on the right bank of the Jhelum. Once, Master Zinda Koul Qasba, a well-known philospher - poet of Kashmir and popularly known as Master Ji, was sitting in my shop, and there were some others also. Pt Shambhu Nath Bhan, a distinguished member of the BGT, passed that way and, seeing Master Ji sitting in the shop, came up and spoke to him. Master Ji enquired of Mr Bhan where he was going. He replied that he was going to pay his obeisance to Bhagawaan Ji. Master Ji told him that he had great respect for Bhagawaan Ji but did not like his smoking the chillum more or less constantly. Mr. Bhan then walked on quietly. A few minutes later, I, too, followed him. As soon as we were seated after paying respects to him, Bhagawaan Ji raised his head and said, 'What business has anyone to pass remarks in a road-side shop regarding my chillum smoking. I am doing this with a special purpose". Bhagawaan Ji being clairvvv voyant and clear audient. nothing was hidden from him.'

14. The incident that follows shows Bhagawaan Ji's solicitude for his devotees. Shri Makan Lal Tutoo, a devotee of Bhagawaan Ji, has this to say:-

'Early in the morning of 29th May, 1968, I wanted to have Bhagawaan Ji's darshana, not knowing that he had given up his mortal frame the previous day. As soon as I learnt about the tragic fact. I was smitten with grief; I proceeded to his residence and joined the procession to the cremation ground. I am a businessman and used to go out of Kashmir to sell some Kashmiri handicrafts. I had returned from Delhi about a month before and was on the look out for a shop at a good shopping centre in Srinagar. In spite of great efforts, I had failed. In fact, my contemplated visit to Bhagawaan Ji on 29th May was for his help in getting a shop on rent. While the last rites were on at the cremation ground, I was feeling terribly dejected and forlorn, thinking that the very source of my divine help had dried up . Beset with grief and anxiety, I lay reclining on the turf-covered ground. Soon, I fell into a sort of trance in which Bhagawaan Ji appeared before me, and directed me to follow him. He took me to Lambert Lane, one of the busiest shopping centres in Srinagar, opened the two locks attached to the shutter of a shop, raised the shutter, and signaled to me to enter the shop. Thereupon, I woke up from the trance.

'Three or four days later, I went to Lambert Lane. While I was sitting in a shop there, a man came up and informed me that a shop was to let. I approached the manager of the shopping centre straightaway. He handed over to me the keys of the shop there and then though he had rejected many prospective tenants. Bhagawaan Ji is very benevolent and helps his devotees in difficulty, even if he is not physically with us.'

15.(a) Shri Somnath Kaak, employed in Lloyds Bank, Srinagar, narrates the following experience:-

'My brother, Shri Jawahar Lal Kaak, when he was an Engineering student in Bombay, suffered an attack of renal colic. The doctors diagnosed it as a case of renal stone and advised an immediate operation. As soon as I received his telegram to this effect, I approached Bhagawaan Ji for help. He started rubbing his own left side, and, in his characteristic way, observed, "Stones come down with snow, with water; look, the stone has come down with urine." Though the hint was clear, I repeated my request. He, in turn, repeated that the stone had come down. Next morning, I received another telegram from my brother stating that, after another severe attack, he had a vision of somebody with a turban on and wearing a phiran upturned; this man was pulling at the stone. A few minutes later, the patient passed urine and the stone came out . He knew nothing about Bhagawaan Ji then.

'Later on, my brother again developed a kidney stone. On 3rd April, 1967, I received a telephone call from him from Bombay that he was to be operated upon on 5th April, 1967. As soon as I received this information, I went to see Bhagawaan Ji at about 6 p.m. There were many people assembled there and I could not get an opportunity to speak to him till 11 p.m.; by then, all others had left. I told him that it would not be possible for me to reach Bombay on the 4th. i.e. the next day, to be present at my brother's operation on the 5th morning. "Go by air', he said firmly. When I said that it would not be possible to get an air seat on the 4th without prior booking, he repeated, "Go by air tomorrow." Miraculously and by his grace, I got an air seat direct to Bombay by which I arrived on the 4th evening. On the 5th morning, the patient was operated upon successfully. Soon after, as he was being taken out of the operation theater, he regained consciousness. The first thing he enquired about was, "Where has Bhagawaaaa an Ji gone ? He was with me, when I was taken to the theater, with one side of his phiran on his shoulder and with a turban on " He (Bhagawaan Ji) had also told him that he should wire his mother in Srinagar to get purees made of 2 1/2 seers of flour, and send these to his (Bhagawaan Ji's) residence at Chondapora, Srinagar. The purees were taken to Bhagawaan Ji's place; he smiled and distributed them among all present.

(b) 'In 1960, accompanied by the other members of my family, I went on a pilgrimage to Haridwar. Before leaving Srinagar, I went to seek Bhagawaan Ji's permission. He agreed and gave me a small packet of bhasma, advising me to keep it with me. This was unusual, as he gave bhasma only on request. From Srinagar, we went direct to Delhi to spend a few days there before proceeding to Haridwar. Our host in Delhi, Shri Lakshmi Nath Zalpori, lived in only one room along with his family. We felt cramped up in it and wanted to leave as soon as possible. Nevertheless, we stayed on for three days. When we were about to leave for Haridwar, our host's daughter, aged about nine, was suddenly taken seriously ill; she also lost consciousness. The doctors diagnosed it as a case of meningitis. After three days, her condition worsened and the doctors gave up all hope of her survival. We felt extremely sad at our presence in the room when death was hovering over a member of our host's family. I lay awake the whole night, invokiii ing Bhagawaan Ji's grace to save the girl. Early in the morning, the idea flashed across my mind that the bhasma given to me by him, was meant to cure the girl. Straightaway, I ran to her mother and asked her to wash the patient's face. Her mother declined the request saying that the girl was dying. She gave in, however, in the wake of insistence. I took out a small portion of the bhasma and, mixing it with a little water in a tea-spoon, put it into the patient's mouth. She could not gulp it down and part of it spilled through the corners of her mouth. A few minutes later, when I tried again, a little water mixed with the bhasma went down her throat. About 15 minutes later, she started moving her legs and arms, and began to moan in a low husky voice. After about half an hour, she regained consciousness and opened her eyes. An hour later, she sat up in her bed. In the evening, she played with her playmates.'

16. Once, Bhagawaan Ji cried out, 'There will be an earth-quake, causing much destruction.' The many people present became panicky, fearing Kashmir might be rocked by the earth-quake. The very next day, there was a terrible earthquake in Iran, causing immense loss of life and property.

17. An incident reported by Pandit Vish Nath an old man in the employ of Ganesh Asthaapan, Srinagar, runs as follows:-

'In the year 1960 or thereabout, on the day following the Diwali day, I went to Bhagawaan Ji's residence at about 3 p.m. There were many other people also there. A young man from among them picked up a lump of hashish lying in front of Bhagawaan Ji while the latter was busy smoking his chillum and hid it in his phiran pocket. After Bhagawaan Ji had finished smoking, he asked the young man to keep the hashish tied in a handkerchief. Thereupon, the young man noticed that the pocket in which he had placed the hashish had become heavy. He also sensed something moving in it. After he had put a hand into the pocket, he started shrieking, "A snake, a snake . I am dying; I am dying. Save me." And a black snake, about 3 feet long, came out of the pocket, and all those present in the room, including Bhagawaan Ji's sister, bolted. Bhagawaan Ji, however, said, smiling, "There is no danger. Come back. " The snake crawled on to Bhagawaan Ji's lap and stayed there for a while. Bhagawaan Ji patted it on the back with his riggg ght hand and then asked it to go away. It crawled into one of the folds of his aasana and was never seen again. This, obviously, was a reprimand to the young man for committing theft.

Bhagawaan Ji usually did not seem to take notice, if anybody stole the money lying before him. A small boy once stole his cloth purse with money in it, but brought it back the next day.

18. During the year 1947, when Pakistani raiders attacked Kashmir, a Kashmiri Hindu was on duty in the Sindh Valley into which the raiders had infiltrated. As he failed to return to Srinagar, his wife got anxious and approached Bhagwaan Ji early one morning, praying to him for the safety of her husband and his safe return to Srinagar. In a round-about way, Bhagawaan Ji indicated that there was danger to her husband. She understood what he had told her but kept sitting, imploring him in her heart that her husband- might return home safely. At about 2 p.m., Bhagawaan Ji asked her to leave, saying that he would return. Dodging raiders, her husband reached Vayilu, a place about 18 miles from Srinagar, that very evening. There, he found a bus full of passengers. He pleaded with the driver to take him along and was made to sit on the roof of the bus. Reaching Srinagar, the bus stopped suddenly near Jama Masjid. He lost the balance, toppled over and fell down. But he felt somebody holding him in his arms while he waaa as falling, and saving him from sure death. Those who saw him falling down ran to him and removed him to a shop on the road. After he had taken some water, he was his normal self again and walked home. There is a proverb in Kashmiri that, by the intercession of saints, 'Kaathis Chhe Kath Gatshaan', i.e., a man destined to die on the rack gets a mere scratch instead.

19. Pt. Maheshwar Nath Qasba, a businessman with strong faith in Karma Kaanda is a scholar of Vedantic Literature. He has visited and served many saints, but, maintaining his individuality, sipped at all cups, draining none. He called at Bhagawaan Ji's place during the period 1957-68 off and on. One of the experiences, related by him is given below:

'During the year 1966, I once went to Bhagawaan Ji's place at Chondapora, Srinagar, late in the afternoon. While sitting in his august presence, I had a feeling that I would miss my evening aarti at the Haari Parvat Shrine of Shri Shaalikaa Bhagawati and was very much disturbed. At dusk, while sitting before him, I was delightfully surprised not only to get a full picture of the aarti; I saw clearly the big vermillion-coated slab, on which is engraved the Shri Chakra representing Shri Shaarika Bhagawati, the ghee lamps kindled by the pujaarias is usual with him on such occasions, and a dazzling light on the wall being Bhagawaan Ji; I could also hear the aarti being recited there. This was a scene never witnessed by me before, away from the Shrine. What puzzled me was Bhagawaan Ji's insight into the hidden recesses of my mind and fulfilling my desire by not only bringing a visual picture of the aarti but also making it audible to me. It seemed to me that the very walls of Bhagawaan Ji's room were reciting the aarti'

20. Shri A.N. Fotedar, then a Divisional Forest Officer, was suspended from the service on a flimsy charge and for no fault of his, in the year 1958. During the period of his suspension, he, along with his wife, was once going to a friend's house, when he encountered Swaami Nand Lal Ji (Nanda Bub), a clairvoyant saint of Kashmir, mentioned earlier also. Swami Ji, whom Mr Fotedar had not met previously, directed him to follow him to the house of a Kashmiri Hindu, where Swaami Ji, along with a retinue of people, was going. Swaami Ji, who was in the habit of putting on a tilak on the foreheads of all who came to him and giving parvaanas (chits of paper written on by him) to people, wrote down a parvaana in Urdu and handed it over to Shri Fotedar. On this parvanna, which is still in Mr. Fotedar's possession, it was written that he should put in an appeal to Shahanshah (King of Kings) Gopi Nath Ji who is adorned with seven medals, and lives at Chondapora, Srinagar. He also told Shri Fotedar that he would meet a maaa an at the Haari Parvat Shrine, Srinagar. The man would guide him to Bhagawaan Ji's residence. Mr Fotedar used to have a daily parikramaa round Haari Parvat. Two or three days later, while he was going round the hillock in parikramaa, he met a subordinate of his, who implored him (Mr Fotedar) to go and seek Bhagawaan Ji's grace. He pleaded with earnestness and offered to take him to Bhagawaan Ji's place. A few days later, Mr Fotedar went to see Bhagawaan Ji accompanied by this man and also on some subsequent occasions.

On one occasion, while Mr Fotedar was sitting in front of Bhagawaan Ji, he started debating in his mind about the pros and cons of astrology. Though he tried to put the idea out of his mind, he failed, and became uncomfortable and felt irritated. Meanwhile, a man come and sat in front of Bhagawaan Ji. After he (Bhagawaan Ji had smoked, he gave his chillum to this man, who returned it after having a few puffs. Soon after, this gentleman started speaking about the effect of the grihas (stars) in the various positions in a horoscope. Mr Fotedar, who has a rational and critical mind, did not believe in horoscopes and did not in the first instance suspect that this man was speaking about the positions of the stars in his (Shri Fotedar's) own horoscope, but somehow he got interested and began to listen to him with attention. Mr. Fotedar asked him where he had seen his janma kundali (chart of stars). The man did not reply but closed his statement with the remark that horoscopes are true, but the man reading them musss st be a saadhaka who can interpret them correctly. Bhagawaan Ji again gave him his chillum. This man had a few puffs and, returning it to him (Bhagawaan Ji), fell silent. It now appeared that he was not the same man as had spoken about the correctness or otherwise of horoscope reading. He even confessed he knew nothing about astrology.

Mr Fotedar visited Bhagawaan Ji frequently but did not broach before him the subject of his reinstatement. On one occasion, however, Bhagawaan Ji himself brought up the subject and told him that about the time it was spring in Jammu, he would go there and be reinstated, though there would be certain bad remarks and some loss of pay. He also said that, though he would, subsequently, go to court for redress, the case would linger on, till the Government of Bakshi Gulam Mohammed had been replaced by the Sadiq Government, which would redress all his grievances. That was what actually happened. Mr. Fotedar is in the Indian Forest Service and is working as Conservator of Forests at present.

21. In this second edition of Bhagawaan Ji's biography a few miracles that were reported by very reliable persons have also been mentioned. Any mention of the miracles performed by the Bhagawaan after giving up the gross body has been avoided, since the book is 'a biographical study'. An exception has, however, been made in the case of the following incident for the simple reason that Pandit Ramaadutta Shukla has mentioned it in the Hindi version of Bhagawaan Ji's biography.

The late Shri Shankar Nath Zadoo, a disciple of Bhagawaan Ji, had contacts with him for about three decades. Shri Zadu says, 'My wife, Smt. Prabhavati Zadu, passed away in May, 1970. Her sudden and untimely demise caused me not only much financial loss but also told upon my physical condition; I developed a serious nerve disorder. I roamed about like one having lost his mental balance as a result of some grave calamity. There was hardly any desire left in my mind. My daughter was very sad because of my physical and mental state. And in December, 1973, (Shri Zadu lived from September, 1971 to May, 1976 with his daughter and son-in-law in Bombay) she persuaded her husband, a devotee of Shri Bhagawaan Satya Sai Baba, to seek the Baba's grace for my well-being. The Baba was to deliver a lecture at Andheri, Bombay, and she virtually forced me to attend it. On reaching the venue of the lecture, I was wonder-struck to see an audience of over 40,000, eager to listen to the Baba as also the bhajan (hymn)- singing grouuu ups. Having concluded his speech, as the Baba was proceeding towards the rooms where he was staying, he passed by the place where I was. Standing before me, he said, 'Your Guru (that is, Bhagawaan Shri Gopi Nath Ji, who had given up his gross body ln May, 1968) has directed me to grace you" He also asked me whether I had been struck by some disease of the nerves. I gesticulated to indicate that I had been. Thereupon, he quickly moved around his right hand and, all of a sudden, sacred ashes started coming out of his right thumb. Giving me the ashes, he directed me to eat some of them and with the rest besmear my head. As soon as I ate the ashes, I felt an electric current, as it were, running from my head to feet: I underwent a sudden change: I became perfectly healthy, repenting over my folly and ignorance.

'While the Baba stood before me, he said, "Your Guru (Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji) was the greatest Kashmiri saint; he was a jivan mukta (liberated while still in the gross body). In the real sense, he is not dead. He will appear before you in about two months.......

'Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji gave me his darshana many times in those two months. He emphasized the transience and unreality of this world and spoke about the problems concerning moksha (liberation).'

22. The late Professor Kashi Nath Dhar, a former President of the Bhagawaan Gopi Nath Ji Trust, related his following experience to several members of the Trust:-

Once he (Prof. Dhar) visited at Chattabal a family closely related to him on the mother's side. One day, he went out to the market, a gadvi (liquid container) in hand, to fetch some milk. On his return, he lost his way in a maze of lanes. Even after wandering about for about a couple of hours, he had no idea where he was; the lanes and the rows of houses appeared to be quite unfamiliar. He grew very anxious. Then a certain lane led him towards the River Jhelum. He heard an angry remonstrance: 'Why are you coming in this direction? Take that small lane.' And he found that it was a Kashmiri Pandit, wearing a pheran and a white turban, and carrying a gadvi full of water in his right hand. The man was coming up the steps of a ghaat. Professor Dhar took the lane indicated and in a few moments was just before the house he had to return to. Bhagawaan Ji was still in his gross body then.

Many years later, Shri Pran Nath Kaul and some other senior members of the Trust approached Prof. Dhar to accept the Presidentship of the Trust. After some initial reluctance, he accepted the offer.

When he entered the Ashram hall at Kharyar, Habba Kadal, he was amazed to find a hundred per cent resemblance of the man who had led him back from the market and Bhagawaan Ji's marble statue-to the statue and not to the many photographs of the Bhagawaan in the hall. The statue does not bear a complete resemblance to Bhagawaan Ji's gross body and so not to the photographs either. Was it an indication in advance that the statue to be installed in future at the Ashram was to be taken to represent him in spite Or a lack of complete resemblance?

Prof. Dhar had never seen Bhagawaan Ji.

23. Dr Kaushalya Wali of the Post-Graduate Department of Sanskrit, the University of Jammu, says:-

(a) 'A certain family had felt somehow somewhere lacking in peace at home, although every mentionable material facility was available to its members...A few members of this family went to Bhagawaan Ji one fine evening. They sat in front of Him for some time. As usual, He was busy making offerings to his dhooni and having a puff at his chillm, when, in between, he stared at the faces of these visitors for some time, and then said, "You will be free on Monday'.....On the said Monday, the electric staff came to check the electric charges. The [electric] wire of a room was giving way; on being replaced, therewith came down a folded paper. The paper was unfolded and in it were found some grains of ash and some painted images of the members of the family with their hands bound. The elders of the family took this paper etc. to some person knowing this occult art and it was interpreted by him as the unwholesome effort of a not-well-meaning relative to harm the progress of this family by taking recourse to maggg gic.

b) ' The young father of a number of small children was on the death bed. The mother of the children along with a few relatives implored Shri Bhagawaan Ji to save the dying patient in the interests of his minor children. It is said (that) since that day Bhagawaan Ji gave up taking food for about a month and, as a result, .... the patient's life tenure was extended by one year.'

24. Mr. Philip Simpfendorfer, an Australian devotee of Bhagawaan Ji, says, 'He (Shri Gwash Lal Malla) had once been obsessed by the contrast between the seemingly endless weariness of his life and the statement that the whole of humanity's existence on Earth is only a small part of one day in the life of Brahmaa (in fact one Brahmaa's day is 2160 million years). Going to Bhagawaan Ji with the problem, he was given an empty chillum to puff by one of the people present. Feeling giddy, he left but collapsed in the street and someone took him home. At 11 p.m., it was reported to Bhagawaan Ji that the man was still unconscious. Bhagawaan Gopi Nath said, 'It does not matter. He is all right. Put this piece of sugar into his mouth." At about 2 o'clock, he returned to his senses. During the trance, he had lived many cycles of life (only three cycles of life, according to the late Gopi Nath Malla, perhaps - Ed.), and he understood how one day of Brahmaa could be equal to millions of earthly Years.'

24. The following are some of the miracles narrated to Mrs Kusum Handoo by Smt:. Gauri Ji [Mrs Prabhavati Handoo], daughter of Shri Bhola Nath Handoo, a boy-hood friend and, later, disciple of Bhagawaan Ji. The miracles happened on Bhagawaan Ji's way to, and after his return from the holy Amarnath Cave.

(a) 'During the pilgrimage, Bhagawaan Ji's party was divided into two groups, women and men. The group of women, who went ahead, thought that Bhagawaan Ji was with the men who, in turn, thought that he was with the women. But he lay at some distance supine and seemingly asleep. When Shri Bhola Nath tried to awake him up', Bhagawaan Ji said, 'What have you done? Don't you see everything around is scorched? I was trying to water this area." Shri Bhola Nath said, 'But, Sir, rain will mean great difficulty for us. It may lead to some dangerous situation." Bhagawaan Ji replied that no harm would be done to the party. All along the rest of the journey, Bhagawaan Ji and party were in the sun; the rain followed immediately after.'

(b) 'About a week after returning from the pilgrimage, Bhagawaan Ji and the Handoo family decided to visit Gautam Nag, a holy place about three kilometres from the Anantnagh town, towards Mattan. Even though only a vegetarian meal may be taken at Gautam Nag, they carried, at Bhagawaan Ji's behest, their lunch consisting of cooked rice and fish curry. As the party was having their lunch near the spring, the Mahant of the place, Swaami Gwash Kaak Ji, appeared on the scene. In very great anger, he asked Bhagawaan Ji why, even though the latter was a brahmchaari (celebate) and saadhu (saint), he was taking fish at a holy place where nothing non-vegetarian might be taken. Bhagawaan Ji said calmly, "Who has eaten the fish? If you want them back, here they are." And he put two of his fingers into his mouth and vomited two living fish, 'which jumped into the spring. The Swaami prostrated before him and prayed for forgiveness.'

(c) 'After a week or so, the family, along with Bhagawaan Ji, visited another holy place in the Anantnagh District, called Trisandhyaa. It is a miraculous place: the holy tunnel-shaped spring there remains bone-dry for most of the year, but during a brief period, water wells out in fairly good quantities twice or thrice a day, and pilgrims bathe in it. As part of their worship of the holy spring, they drop flowers and thrice-washed grains of rice into it. During the intervals between the welling out of the water, the spring becomes so waterless that mice appear and eat the rice. On the day Bhagawaan Ji was there, Trisandhyaa appeared -i.e. water welled out-eight times. Then a woman came there to absolve herself of her sins by bathing in the holy Trlsandhyaa, but, even after a long wait, Trisandhyaa did not appear. Then she prayed to Bhagawaan Ji that it might appear. But he, in great anger, told her "Mondee (O wretched one), why did you let the cows burn to death in your burning house? Why did you not let theee em loose in time? You have committed such a heinous sin that, as long as you are here, the holy Trisandhyaa will not appear." All those present urged her angrily to go away. After she had gone a little distance, Trisandhyaa appeared. She returned to take a dip. But no sooner did she reach the holy place than Trlsandhyaa disappeared. After she had finally gone, it appeared again and all present bathed in it for the ninth time that day'

(d) 'In mid-1948, Bhagawaan Ji along with Shri Bhola Nath and the Handoo family went to the Nishat Bagh by boat. Bhagawaan Ji took up one of the dead fish they carried to be cooked as part of their lunch. He rocked it in his lap for many minutes and then threw it into the Dal Lake. And lo and behold! As soon as it touched the water, it regained life; a normal and healthy fish now, it swam about, - and away!.'

25. Mr. Iqbal Kaui of R K Puram, New Delhi, accompanied Bhagawaan Ji on a pilgrimage to the holy Amarnath Cave 'around August, 1946.' On the return journey, Bhagawaan Ji did not permit him and others to proceed beyond Panchtarni. Mr Kaul writes:

We had our lunch, packed our bags, and sought Bhagawaan Ji's permission to return to Wavjan. He would not let us leave our place, and did not budge from his aasana. All of us remonstrated with him, informing him that we had to cross a difficult leg of the route, and (that) any delay in departure would create unnecessary problems. These arguments did not cut any ice with him...Therefore, in utter frustration, we gave up pleading with him. However, around 4 p.m., he allowed us to set off for Wavjan.

'A shock awaited us at the Mahagunas Pass. The whole area of the Pass was carpeted with thick layers of slime and slush. The pilgrim pathway was converted into ruts by the passing ponies and pedestrians. Depressions were brimful with water and tiny rivulets were cascading down the slopes. The area, only twenty-four hours earlier, was bone-dry. We found a few frightened Kashmiri Pandit ladies here. They were soaked to the skin and shivering with cold. They told us their tale of woe. A freak cloudburst had struck the pass, and a large number of yaatris (pilgrims) had been caught by the deluge. We reached Wavjan around 9 p.m. in good cheer. (Now) the significance of Bhagawaan Ji's negative attitude at Panchtarni dawned on us. Had we started at Panchtarni according to our will, we too, would have received a drubbing from Nature. It was Bhagawaan Ji's intervention that saved us from a nasty situation.'

26. Shri A.N. Fotedar, IFS, a retired conservator of Forests, was a witness to the following:-

'One evening, while it was snowing heavily, the Bhagawaan, as usual, was in an ecstatic mood, puffing away at his chillum. Suddenly, he held the chillum in his left hand and looked out through the window near him, shouting, "O puny mortal, donning an immaculate military uniform covering your huge body and sporting a well-trimmed moustache, you cannot frighten us from across the mountrains. We are here under the protection of Shri Shaarika and numerous saints and sages, both of the past and the present. Their grace has protected us from marauders and continues to do so. You can do whatever you like in the area on the other side of the mountains, South and West of Kashmir. The yellow race with slit eyes and snub noses to the North of us, which, you think, will come down on us to help you in your evil designs, dare not do so now. The King, whom they will drive out of their area, will not be allowed to come to our sacred land, but may be received, and thereafter live in the hills and mountains East of Kashmir. I again tell you and do so forcefully, "Do not even cast an evil eye on this sacred land and do not expect the slit-eyed, yellow-faced and snub-nosed northerners to help you in this misadventure."

'Only the following day the news came that General Ayub Khan had taken over in Pakistan in a military coup, and had imposed martial law on the country. In the subsequent years, the insurrection in Tibet against the Chinese oppression resulted in the flight of the Dalai Lama and his followers into India, east of Kashmir. Later, in 1962, the Chinese launched a massive attack on India which shook it to its foundations. But all the fighting took place away from the Kashmir Valley.'

27 Mahaatma Nand Lal Ji, popularly known as Nanda Bub, once decided that the marriage ceremony of a devotee girl of his should be performed in the house at Gadood Bagh, near Chondapora, Srinagar, where Bhagawaan Ji lived during the last years of his earthly life. Shri Pushkar Nath Kaul of Kani Kadal, Srinagar, a saintly person, was asked by both the saints to officiate at the ceremony in place of the girl's father who was lying very ill in the room adjacent to that of Bhagawaan Ji. The following incident has been reported by Shri Pushkar Nath Kaul himself.

After the earlier ceremonies, the Mehandiraat and the Devagone, the day of the wedding came. On the arrival of the baraat, Bhagawaan Ji blessed the girl, saying, 'Deka bad aasin!' ('May her husband outlive her!'). The lagan (the marriage rituals) started at 9 a.m. Towards the close of the lagan ceremony. poshi-pooza is performed: the girl's parents and other relations shower heaps of flowers on the newly-wed couple while the officiating priests chant Sanskrit verses blessing the couple. Now, just before the poshi-pooza. Shri Pushkar Nath went to the room, where the girl's father was lying ill, to see if the latter could muster strength enough to go and drop at least a few flowers on the couple and bless them. But he was shocked to find the man's elder daughter wailing and beating her chest as he had just died.

Besides being shocked, Shri Pushkar Nath was at a loss whether to carry on with the marriage rituals and the ceremonial farewell to the couple and the bride-groom's people, or whether to start performing the rituals for the dead and organise the funeral procession to the cremation ground. It was an extremely difficult situation and he did not know what the injunctions of the shastras were to tackle it.

In a fix, he approached Bhagawaan Ji whom he found in a deep spiritual ecstasy. But before he could say anything, the Bhagawaan opened his eyes and said rather loudly, 'Dapus thahar pagaah taanya.' ('Ask him to wait till tomorrow'). Shri Pushkar Nath could not understand the purport of these words. He, however, returned to the dead man's room where he was pleasantly surprised to find him smiling and talking to his elder daughter. He now informed him about the poshi-poozaa

The function ended at about 7 p.m. and the couple was blessed by Bhagawaan Ji on their departure.

On the following day, the girl's father suddenly died, and his funeral rites were duly performed.

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